Translating Culture For Better Communication Between People – Analysis


The notion of cultural transfer refers to a process of adoption of cultural phenomena between different cultures, for example between different countries or between different social groups. (1)

Translation is an integral part of the cultural transfer which marks the passage of a work from one culture to another. This passage can be represented by several translations and by other types of transfers, different re-readings, etc. (2)

In today’s translation studies, the translated text is considered as a whole complex of semantics which is part of the linguistic, historical and political contexts of the arrival culture. (3) Any translation is never isolated; it is related to other texts, other speeches which are intimately linked to the cultural experience of a certain country, to the history of a people, to a vision and perception of the world. (5) Each translator is looking for a key available to him in his own culture to access the literary text of the Other. (5)

Language and culture are closely linked

Language and culture are closely linked and in each linguistic code the different lexical units carry cultural information that is rarely equivalent from one language to another. Thus, in translation, the transfer of these different units and the switching from one language to another while preserving the intention of the author of the original remains a difficult task to achieve, knowing that translating the words does not translate the intentions. (6)

On the relevance of translation in the field of culture, Mi-Yeon Jeon and Annie Brisset argue: (7)

“Recognizing that translation is an act of cultural mediation means integrating this intercultural perspective into translator training. The study of the interdependence of language and culture, as well as the implications for translation, is nothing new to the discipline of Translation Studies: Approaches vary according to the notion of culture, the notion of translation and according to the disciplines brought into play. By examining how the notion of culture is approached in translation manuals that have marked translator training in recent decades, we are able to show that culture is seen, above all, as an obstacle confronted primarily in linguistic problems. Without neglecting the role of interlocutors or of context, didactic approaches have privileged lexico-syntactic aspects with little regard for the discursive dimensions of textuality. Even if functionalism did indeed open translator training to the pragmatic aspects of translation, they remain subordinate to a logico-grammatical conception of text and deal primarily with the implicit/explicit relationship. We have noted that although the role played by culture in the production and interpretation of meaning is acknowledged, culture is rarely defined. The role played by culture, then, remains theoretical and is not dealt with practically.’’

For some theorists the transfer of cultural traits is almost impossible due to the fact that these traits are different from one language to another, for others, this transfer is possible since there are common and universal cultural facts and despite the difference between languages the transposition of these traits remains possible by making a few modifications. (8) The questions that arise are therefore: to what extent should the translation reflect any culture? Isn’t it a simple linguistic transfer as it is always known? What is the relationship between translation and culture? Are there really cultural problems that constrain the work of the translator? How should the translator react to remedy these problems? (9)

By studying the interweaving of cultural transfers and translations, important crossovers can be identified in order to create a theoretical basis for research that would enable its modelling. It would also help to determine some important milestones for practical work, in order to define the extent of the translator’s intervention in the text. The interdisciplinary approach allows to identify three poles of the translation process: (10)

  • The text-centric perspective of translation addresses the translator-text relationship
  • The ecological perspective allows to study the text – culture relationships. This leads one to consider the initial text and the final text as the fruit of crossbreeding; and 
  • Finally, the third perspective addresses the translator/ recipient relationship through the profile. (11)

Speaking of translation, it is necessary to emphasize that reflection on this science as well as on its theory was only made at the beginning by linguists such as Nida, Mounin and Catford…etc. At that time, it was considered a simple passage between two languages which boils down to the search for equivalent terms between these two languages; but translation studies have evolved over time and have further clarified their object, which is not especially strictly linguistic but much broader than that. (12)

For Delisle, translation is life: (13)

 “In fact, to speak of translation is to speak of the life, the nature and the destiny of works is to talk about communication, transmission, reception, tradition, culture; it’s talking about the relationship with others, it’s talking about languages and writing; it’s talking about mimicry and recreation. It’s talking about many other things, most often metaphorically”

It is clear from this passage that Delisle is making reference to culture when speaking of translation, which he considers in the same article as selective and partly linked to ideas of values and symbols. So, translation cannot be a simple passage between two languages but it is also a passage between two cultures; and the translator must not just take into account linguistic rules but also, cultural elements concerned.

As translation takes place between not only two different languages but also between two different cultures, and as it is considered an intercultural operation, it is confronted with several cultural obstacles which make the task of the translator increasingly difficult as Hurtado confirms: (14) 

Translation is therefore intercultural communication. It is the transfer of cultural elements contained in a text starting out towards a target language, this is one of the major difficulties faced by readers-translators.

The difficulty lies in the fact that the aspects of life do not correspond necessarily from one culture to another; the cultural traits of a given society can be non-existent in another, and sometimes they can exist but do not refer to the same referents.

Translation in the service of cultural transfer

Translation in the service of cultural transfer, refers to the role of translation in facilitating the exchange of cultural ideas, values, and practices between different languages and cultures. This concept highlights the importance of translators in bridging linguistic and cultural gaps, and in promoting intercultural communication and understanding. (15)

The responsibility of the translator does not end simply in transferring an utterance from one language to another; it requires that the information transmitted is correct, and of quality and, also, understandable in the target language. What strategies to use, then, to transfer cultural references from a source text to a target text? Is it a question of transmitting cultural aspects (foreignization) or adapt to the target culture (domestication)? 

The question we ask ourselves is to know how to keep the content and form of the source text without clashing with linguistic standards and cultural aspects of the target language. To find a strategy that both remain faithful to the original and which is understandable in the target language without denying the foreign aspect of the first and succumbing to domestication and translation ethnocentric as Jeremy Munday explains in Introducing translation studies. (16)

The importance of transmitting the meaning of a text is also developed by Eugène Nida and it crystallizes in his notion of dynamic equivalence (17) and Munday explains in this regard that: “This receptor-oriented approach considers adjustments of grammar, of lexicon and of cultural references in order to achieve naturalness.” (18) Likewise, in his Textbook of Translation Peter Newmark explains that: (19)

“The translator of a cultural word, which is always less context-bound than ordinary language, has to bear in mind both the motivation and the cultural specialist (in relation to the texts topic) and linguistic level of the readership.” 

It is necessary to consider translation as a negotiation of differences, and no longer as an opposition between the universal and the local. Translating between cultures is indeed a civilizational issue, especially in the current ideological context, which makes the reference to the “clash of civilizations” (20) the dominant and implicit discourse everywhere. 

More than ever, it is appropriate to think about the discrepancies between cultures and civilizations, between otherness and closure. (21) And, also, not to obscure the various essentials and the pending question of incompatibility, of the different, of the untranslatable, and all factors of war rather than peace.

Language and culture are closely linked and in each linguistic code the different lexical units carry cultural information that is rarely equivalent from one language to another. Thus, in translation, the transfer of these different units and the switching from one language to another while preserving the intention of the author of the original remains a difficult task to achieve, knowing that translating the words does not translate the intentions.

Erik Angelone points out the importance of cultural translation in the following terms: (22)

“Culture is ultimately what leads to the creation of language, which means that the two are deeply connected. When it comes to translation, recognizing this connection is vital, and translators should make an effort to consider the culture of the language being translated to reveal the true meaning and context. Failing to do so may result in misinterpreted statements that can confuse an audience. For this reason, we encourage the use of cultural translation and stress its importance in achieving quality translations.” 

For some theorists the transfer of cultural traits is almost impossible due to the fact that these traits are different from one language to another, for others, this transfer is possible since there are common and universal cultural facts and yet for another group despite the difference between languages the transposition of these traits remains possible by making a few modifications. (23)

The questions that arise, then, are therefore: to what extent should the translation reflect any culture? Isn’t it a simple linguistic transfer as we always have known? (24) What is the relationship between translation and culture? (25) Are there really cultural problems that constrain the work of the translator? How should the translator react to remedy these problems? 

Can we translate culture?

By default, translation is an intercultural activity because it is interlinguistic. The notion of translation cannot be conceived without imagining the relationship between cultures in a cosmopolitan world. A relationship, exchanges, and transfers which give each of these cultures its identity but also a common character. (26)

The importance of moving from one culture to another, in translating from one language to another, is essential to any text translator. This necessity gives particular motivation and pleasure to the translator who must know how to play with this beautiful interdependence between translation and culture. He enjoys exploring the cultural fields specific to each culture and enriching his translation with references and context and thus gives it quality and strong relevance. (27)

This interdependence of languages and cultures has a positive “impact” on translation, because it is the means of enriching meaning. (28)

Translating a text or a video means that the translator has a clear vision of the close, intimate relationships that languages have with each other. Translating from one culture to another means having the experience of one’s language in its determination, its singularity among other languages, and its ability to operate intercultural mediation. (29)

Translating requires know-how, but it also requires having a culture of translation, a cultural experience of the profession, a profession which is certainly technical but which cannot be conceived without extensive, encyclopaedic knowledge, and being curious about the other and his language.

The translator here has the status of mediator between cultures. The final text is, just like the original text, a cultural semiotic product. The translator is a specialist in intercultural communication. He knows how to determine the means of mediation most suited to the desired meaning in a given socio-cultural context. (30)

The culture of each of the languages concerned determines the production and interpretation of meaning. The translator will be the ford ferryman who will try to reach the precise meaning by taking detours to play with the implicit/explicit relationship. He will have to take into account social practices and norms, national identities or even institutions, power relations and policies which, in one way or another, influence the act of translation. (31)

More than a bridge, perhaps, translation is the key to intercultural dialogue. A dialogue which constitutes the best guarantee for peace. The translator is a breeder of doves, a builder of bridges between cultures, between people, between languages. (32)

A bridge to defend cultural diversity and allow it to develop, to expand in its relationship to difference and “strangeness”. Without translation we would be plunged into a world of conflict, contaminated by ignorance and incomprehension and ultimately fear of “the other”. Literary translation has a key role here, it is an additional guarantee of appeasing the world and allowing it to develop. (33)

On translating cultural differences, Sun Yifeng argues: (34)

“Translation is borne out of a need to understand what is different in a foreign cognitive environment and it is cultural alienation that leads to breakdowns in communication. It is a paradox that translation must, at one and the same time, introduce and appropriate difference. Cultural incomprehensibility is a stumbling block, but translation theory also lacks a cogent theory of culture as part of communication. A multicultural appreciation of human diversity is indeed important, yet we should also be sensitive to cultural differences. Therefore, we should not overestimate target‐audience’s familiarity with the unique source‐language culture. Cultural appropriation is essential in facilitating assimilation which, in turn, bridges the communication gap between the source and target text. Translation confronts cultural differences by employing feasible and coherent strategies to accommodate the culture of the source text. Cultural awareness, identity, and subsequent appropriation are needed to help target‐language readers infer associations and relationship in translations.”

Language is not just an instrument of communication. It is also a symbolic order where representations, values and social practices find their foundations. 

Moving a document, a book, a film from one language to another does not simply consist of translating words but also concepts. Concepts specific to a civilization. Specific to a people who have their own way of thinking.

The translator must preserve the identity of the cultural term and be aware of not being able to integrate the entire concept into its specificity. For example, we speak of terms “with strong cultural content” (culture-bound terms) when it comes to references to a different material culture (architecture, clothing, cuisine, etc.), or a specific socio-cultural system (religion, rituals, economic, administrative, political, military system, etc.). (35)

These terms are numerous in legal documents and in the field of human sciences. The professional translator will have to master his cultural differences to preserve the meaning of the terms of the text.

By translating, a translator, in a strongly cultural context (work of literary fiction, cinema, song, history, politics, art culture, cultural translation, website translation, etc.), has the privilege of being able to offer two peoples the opportunity to communicate and to understand each other. (36)

Translation of cultural values

Every culture has its own values and norms. And this is not limited to the language associated with it. The culture of origin also has an impact on the translation itself and how it is understood by the target audience. For example, Western cultures are characterized by a more direct type of communication than Eastern cultures. In order to correctly translate content from a specific culture, it is necessary to understand its values and standards, as well as its translation quality criteria. (37)

The meaning of a word or phrase can be affected by the cultural context in which it is used. The reason is that words are not universal and can have different meanings depending on where they are used. When a word from a given culture is used within another culture, its meaning can vary. For example, the word “fiesta” in the United States has a different meaning than it does in France.

The same goes for French. There are many words that are highly context-dependent and cannot be translated in the same way into English or German, as they need to be given a culturally appropriate meaning. This is why, when using a translation service, it must have professionals qualified in specific languages. In this way, one obtains a translation adapted to the cultural environment of the reader of the translated version. (38)

For Annie Brisset, the idea of culture is closely linked to translation: (39)

“The idea of culture is closely linked to translation, but it has evolved a great deal since translation studies emerged as an autonomous discipline. Initially culture was understood as a monolithic whole, coextensive with the use of a language that was thought to reflect a particular life style and vision of the world. Nevertheless equality between languages in relation to naming reduced the differences between cultures that might have been expected to hinder transfer of the meanings to be expressed. With postcolonialism, this linguistic approach to culture was replaced by an approach incorporating human factors. It became apparent that translation is a fiduciary operation between partners in an often asymmetrical relationship. The critique of translation practices drawing on anthropology revealed the relations of domination between translating and translated cultures. This cultural turn of translation called for an ethics of difference that respects identities. Increasingly translation practices that had been observed in the context of colonialisation, in distant times and cultures, were examined in the proximity of contemporary societies. Translation studies then began borrowing its models from sociology. It focused on agents and institutions and on the interests underlying the flow of translation, both within particular societies and on a global scale. On the edges of this sociography, the sociology of communication makes it possible to reintegrate the discursive components of translation. A number of factors, including new technologies, globalisation, conflicts and migrations, have led the forms and media of intercultural mediation to diversify, requiring new theorisations. Formerly the dominant paradigm, western translation studies is now incorporating insights from other cultures, which entails a revision of its concepts and models.’’

A professional can help understand the cultural nuances unique to a specific region, which is an important asset when working on international projects. Cultural experts are also very useful when one is working on a project that concerns a specific culture, for example if one’s company wants to launch a product in China. Cultural differences between East and West should not be seen as a handicap, but as a challenge to provide an adequate translation taking into account the cultural context.

In the case of a translation of a certain complexity, the translator will most likely have to resort to various sources or external help in order to render the text in the appropriate way. Additionally, within the same country, there may be significant cultural differences that could change the meaning of the translation. For this reason, it is necessary to use different specific sources in order to obtain a translation adapted to a particular cultural context. (40)

One can conclude that the more rigorous a translation is, the easier it is for the target audience to understand the content. This is because it does not face any confusion or misinterpretation of words, expressions and sentences. Knowledge of the culture of the source language is one of the main guarantors of the reliability of a translation. Consulting a cultural anthropology manual is a good way to obtain information on the culture of the source language in the context of a translation. Understanding the culture of the source language and the target language is essential for accurate translation. (41)

Translation is one task among others that cannot be entrusted to inexperienced people, let alone machines. The quality of a translation lies to a large extent in the way in which the cultural context in which it takes place has been understood. This task can only be accomplished by a translation institution that has a global vision of how to proceed and does not hesitate to use all available tools to achieve these objectives. (42)

In an increasingly digitalized and globalized world, business relationships between different cultures are the order of the day. Getting the desired message across appropriately requires the expertise of qualified people who can render the content. And only a rigorous translation company is able to do this.

The importance of culture in translation

Translation allows individuals speaking different languages to communicate and understand each other. Language being a major element of the culture of a country, the transition from one language to another involves an essential cultural adaptation to ensure a quality translation. (43)

Translating is not only transposing words, but also concepts that are specific to a people, a country, a cultural identity. Indeed, words are not universal and the same word can have a different translation or meaning depending on the culture for which it is intended. This is particularly the case for variants of the same language. To cite an example, the word “voiture (car)” in French translates as “coche” in Spanish from Spain but as “carro” in Spanish from Latin America.

In translation, we also talk about terms with “strong cultural content” (or culture-bound terms) which designate terms linked to a cultural aspect in a country and therefore do not necessarily have a translation into a language other than that of the country concerned. These terms can refer to cultural elements such as architecture, gastronomy, clothing or even socio-cultural systems such as religion, politics, or economics. They are particularly present in legal translation.

It is therefore very important, before carrying out any translation, to know your destination country in order to be able to adapt it accordingly. Thus, a good translation must take into account the practices, standards and institutions of the country for which it is intended. In addition, each culture is different in its way of communicating, some cultures favor direct communication, with short sentences, while others will use more developed formulations, a more elaborate writing style. Likewise, the choice between familiarity and informality may depend on the cultural habits of the target audience. Taking into account this type of element specific to the culture of a country is therefore essential to ensure the quality of a translation and its understanding. This is why translators must have very good linguistic but also cultural knowledge of the source language and the target language. (44)

In order to guarantee this cultural consideration which is essential for the quality of translations, translators must be native to the country of the target language, thus ensuring the necessary knowledge of the destination culture. Indeed, who knows the culture of a country better than a person born there? (45)

 To translate well is to think well, and being a good translator means knowing how to recognize the specificities of a culture, carrying out the necessary research to treat them in the right way and ensuring good understanding by the target audience. It is therefore essential to entrust your translations to professionals.

A tool of the translator is context. Tegelberg (46) writes that: “one cannot emphasize enough the essential role that context plays in the translation of literary texts”. As for Ballard, (47) he speaks of the context in Proper name in translation, where he writes that the context can help the reader “to decode (even vaguely) the imported foreign sign”. If the close context of a cultural word contains some sort of explanation of the word, the context may help the translator preserve local color and the translator is not obliged to explain this cultural word.

When we translate cultural words, and also more generally when we translate a text, there are things that we must think about. First, who will read the text? Who are the readers?  Svane (48) emphasizes that it is important to remember that the receiver of the text does not remain the same after translation. That is to say, the readers of the translation belong to another culture. Cultural words that are obvious to the reader of the original text are not necessarily obvious to the reader of the translated text because the reader of the translated text does not share the same culture as the author. Likewise, Rune Ingo (49) writes that it is important to remember that there is a new target and that age, education, standard of living, etc., may differ from the original target. So, the translator must take this into account and, using different strategies, try to transmit these cultural words.

Cultural words translation strategies

When we talk about translation strategies, there are several terms to designate the same strategy because each researcher in this field prefers their own terminology. Jean-Paul Vinay and Jean Darbelnet (50) speaks of “borrowing” where Svane (51) speaks of “transfer”. (52) Furthermore, Vinay and Darbelnet do not speak of strategies but of “processes”. Even if most translation researchers use some of Vinay and Darbelnet’s processes as the basis of some of their strategies, for example “equivalence” in Svane or “adaptation” in Tegelberg, they prefer other terms when they talk about the translation of cultural words. Vinay and Darbelnet’s processes were not specifically designed to solve the problems of translating cultural words.

The strategies given below are borrowed from Tegelberg. (53) By applying the system from Ballard to Tegelberg’s strategies, explanation, generalization, adaptation and deletion focus on text comprehension and direct translation and accuracy and try to preserve the foreignness of the text.

The strategies in question are:

  • Explanation is the strategy used when the cultural word lacks an equivalent in the target language and that the translator tries to convey “what the term in question means”; (54)
  • Generalization is used when the cultural word consists of several parts and that the translator chose not to translate all the semantic components;
  • Adaptation is used when the translator replaces a cultural word with another of the target language; 
  • Deletion is used when the translator has chosen to delete a cultural word;
  • Precision is used when the translator adds a word to define the semantics field; and

Direct translation is a word-for-word translation.

  • Ballard is a researcher who thinks that the translator must keep the balance between conservation of foreignness and “acclimatization to the language and culture of arrival”. (55) This conception of translation is visible in its way of dividing the strategies of translation into two groups: those which preserve the foreignness of the signifiers and those which “promote the expression of meaning by breaking ties with the original signifier”. (56) The strategies that preserve foreignness are called: “pure and simple postponement” and “the report accompanied by an explanation of the meaning“, that is to say a kind of supplement. Strategies that promote meaning are “substitution”, “translation of the meaning of the etymon”, and “the use of a cultural equivalent”.

When we translate cultural words, and also more generally when we translate a text, there are things to think about. First, who will read the text? What are the readers? Svane (57) emphasizes that it is important to remember that the receiver of the text does not remain the same after translation. That is to say, the translation readers belong to another culture. Cultural words that are obvious to the reader of the original text are not necessarily obvious to the reader of the translated text because the reader of the translated text does not share the same culture as the author. 

Likewise, Rune Ingo (58) writes that it is important to remember that there is a new target and that age, education, standard of living, etc., can differ from the original target. Therefore, the translator must take this into account and use different strategies to try to transmit these cultural words.

Can cultural translation facilitate cultural integration?

The process of cultural integration has been a topic of discussion for many years. It involves the merging of different cultures, ethnicities and beliefs to form a cohesive society. The process of cultural integration is not easy, as it requires individuals to accept diversity and bridge the dynamic gap that exists between different cultures. 

Cultural integration can be defined as the process of mixing different cultures, ethnicities and beliefs to form a cohesive society. This implies the acceptance of diversity, essential to the growth and development of a society. Cultural integration is not just about tolerating different cultures, but also welcoming and celebrating them. (59)

Cultural integration is important for several reasons. First, it promotes social cohesion and harmony. When individuals from different cultures come together, they learn to appreciate each other’s way of life, which leads to mutual respect and understanding. Second, cultural integration promotes economic growth. When diverse cultures meet, they bring with them different skills and knowledge, which can be used for economic development. Finally, cultural integration promotes cultural exchanges, essential to the preservation of cultural heritage. (60)

Cultural integration is a complex process that involves individuals from different backgrounds coming together to form a cohesive community. However, this process is not without challenges. Several obstacles can hinder the success of cultural integration. Anyone undertaking cultural translation must explore the challenges of cultural integration and provide ideas on how to overcome them. (61)

Language constitutes a significant obstacle to cultural integration. In a community where people speak different languages, it is difficult to communicate effectively. Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. It is essential to find ways to overcome this obstacle. One solution is to offer language courses to people who do not speak the dominant language, but, nevertheless, the most efficient solution is, undoubtedly, cultural translation. This will help people from foreign backgrounds communicate effectively and integrate into the community. (62)

For Chantal Louchet cultural integration for migrants can only be achieved through translation: (63)

“…migrants, upon arriving in France, are faced with several obstacles, one of the most important of which is the language barrier. In fact, most do not speak French; those who speak it do not speak it well; some speak English: how to establish communication when no one speaks to them language? They therefore find themselves in a situation of linguistic insecurity (Francard, 1997; Adami, André, 2010) since they are “non-native speakers”. They feel powerless in acquiring this language; the learning process appears to be a real obstacle… how to achieve it? At this precise moment, the best way to reduce obstacles would be to resort to translation. The ideal way to support migrants in their initial phase of adaptation and of legalization, given that they rely on sociolinguistic systems and sociocultural differences from those of the host country, would be to involve a third party capable of providing an undistorted translation, that is to say a translation carried out by a professional.”

Challenges facing the translation of culture

The difficulty lies in the fact that the aspects of life do not correspond necessarily from one culture to another; the cultural traits of a given society can be non-existent in another, and sometimes they can exist but do not refer to the same referents. (64) 

Among the problems that a translator may encounter during his translating task one can cite the following:

Figures of Speech: in front of a metaphor, a simile or even a repetition in the English language above all, the translator is frozen, he no longer knows what to give to his reader, a literal translation which could perhaps not convey the meaning of the original, find an equivalence, (65) adapt the metaphor to the culture of the receiving audience or just not translating the figure of speech? It is here that lies the problem, because it is difficult to trace the processes that motivate this figure of speech. (66)

In this regard Teresa Dobrzyńska argues: (67)

 ‘’ […] transfer of a metaphor into another language puts it into an entirely different communicative situation, and the change in the pragmatic factors automatically brings about a change of the audience’s response. A metaphor becomes then a product of a different world of ideas and begins to generate a different sense.’’ 

Borrowing of Foreign Words: In this case the translator is confronted with a situation which in a certain sense requires him to keep the borrowed word to be faithful to the source text and its style, but in another sense, he also feels obliged to transmit the message in the target language, therefore the problem that arises here is the choice of translating the word or keeping the borrowing.

Habits and Cultural Connotations: for this element, the translator is also faced with the transmission of these local values coming from religion, rules of conduct and ethical standards as theyare presented in a source text and make them discoverable to a receiving public who is likely tonot accept them or not assimilate them, or make an adaptation which will make the texttranslated accessible to this audience.

Proverbs and Fixed Expressions: Here, too, the translator is faced with a choice to make, that of finding an expressionequivalent in the target language which would have the same meaning or which is in the same context orto make a paraphrase to convey the message of this expression; and this by usingequivalents adapted to the reader’s knowledge. Which is sometimes an impossible task toachieve because what exists in a given society may have no meaning in another.

Names specific to a region (place names for example): This also represents a problem for the translator because he finds himself faced with twopossibilities; that of keeping the name to make known the culture of the other, and that ofreplacing this name with another which is closer to the culture of the receiver and whichwould be more familiar and not foreign to his eyes (a translation which explains or gives the meaningof this name).

Passages Linked to Religion: in this case too the translator is faced with a situation which forces him to make a difficult choice; translate the text as it is given while keeping the words used thus giving a literal translation, or look up the meaning and look for an equivalent in the target language and do an adaptation. Sometimes the translator is faced with a text already translated from the target language which puts him in the situation of returning to the original.

Translation and intercultural communication

Language belongs to the nation that speaks it. Translation is a supra-language that cannot be confined within the same limits, because it draws a universal map to reduce the distance of mystery and the unknown. It becomes a foreign language as soon as it leaves its original home. A foreign language which sheds its strangeness in the face of the other foreigner, who will no longer be one. This is where its inter or multicultural functionality lies in its human dimension. It is at this moment that translation becomes a tool for freeing itself from the symbolic filiations which tie the original text to dogmatic reading grids. It uses the subtle interplay of source/target languages to create a metalanguage above the markers of unitary cultures. It thus results in a crossbreeding through the meeting and discovery of other societies, in a less reductionist vision, less driven by the strangeness of the other, but more inclined finally to recognition and legitimation. (68)

Translation is a journey from the closed to the open, from one homogeneous culture to another. It breaks down the barriers of the universe and gives access to the brilliance it conveys. A factor of interculturalism, it tends towards a knowledge society. The corpus to be translated follows a complex progression. The translator immerses himself in the author’s language and culture. By avoiding the exclusive literalism of parallel statements and the search for faithful meaning through equivalence, he or she deepens the translating body to overflow onto the imaginary and cultural sensibilities associated with it, as a discovery of otherness, while untying the logics of confinement and lines of constraint, for greater global mobility. (69)

On the relevance of translation in intercultural communication Jean-François Hersent argues: (70)

“To translate is to think of culture as a relationship between cultures. For this reason, there can be no question of a homogeneous culture. Differences exist within and between cultures, just as they do within and between languages. So translating between cultures is indeed a civilizational challenge, especially in the current ideological context, where reference to the “war of civilizations” is the dominant and everywhere implicit discourse (Wallenstein, 2002; Robbins, 2002). More than ever, we need to think about the gaps between culture and civilization, between otherness and enclosure. Nor should we overlook the unavoidable differences and pending issues of incompatibility, difference and untranslatability, all of which are factors in war rather than peace. Working on the translation of cultures means not only asking what we translate, why we translate and how we translate, but also questioning contemporary narratives of the untranslatable and, in so doing, challenging the themes of incompatibility, original/original (Crépon, 2002) and translation/ betrayal: Tradutore, traditore.”

In dialogue between languages and cultures, in listening to strangers and interacting with others, translation is truly a vector of exchange and creator of social bonds. But in the discourse on translation, the social discourse took the longest to emerge and it remains in the minority. It goes against dominant discourses which favor the problem of fidelity (71) (mainly literary field of research, focused on texts), that of teaching (translation in language teaching, generating a mainly normative discourse) or that of automation, the domain of linguists, computer scientists and logicians. In these discourses, by focusing on the product of translation (the texts) or on the process (linguistic transfer), we tend to forget that, in the vast majority of cases, translation exists primarily because it responds to needs within a given society. It is part of the vast field that constitutes communicative interactions. Translation is a matter of languages, cultures, meanings, and above all, people. (72)

Thus, translating amounts to interpreting this deep thought, giving it as existing, otherwise the counterpart of the original text will only be misunderstanding. What is translating? Fundamental question which immediately evacuates, without rejecting it, the only practical dimension and the technical result, but places one within the horizon of an essential thought, that of expanses, of unlimited territorialities, of discoveries which mask the banal everyday life, to bring about new spaces that transcend linguistic barriers and national prisms with an ethnocentric tendency. The one that transcends the inessential adhesions of the obsession with meaning and phobic literality, by scrupulously pressing the text for a better aesthetic restitution. (73)

The image of the Other is for Daniel-Henri Pageaux a particularly important field of research: (74)

“Otherness comes largely from a reflection on the notions of difference and interculturality; this interculturality would send one to this zone of the in-between that many researchers increasingly like to frequent; the questions concern the phenomena of miscegenation, linguistic or cultural hybridization, hetero-lingualism, nomadism, migrations or immigrations, on literatures, texts that cross languages.”

The transfer of cultural elements

Parallel to research in favor of the extralinguistic dimension of translation Since the 1970s, a new approach to translation has emerged; the sociological approach, supported by translations studies and process studies of “cultural transfer”. This encourages a translation act where we break with a translation essentially oriented towards the source text to approach the translations in their context of production and reception (therefore in the target culture). The final product offered by the translator is not the logical outcome of work intended from the outset to take this form and this precise content, but indeed the fruit of a long reflective work undermined by choices to make and influenced by a number of factors. Reiss (75) denotes precisely seven: the translator, the translation the process, the transmitter, the communication, the text, the receiver, and the transfer.

In addition, translations of religious texts, those of official texts of countries which have governed and still govern today the societal rules, or even those of the literary text, more poetic, show the concern to translate the cultural aspects of speeches transcribed in a foreign language. Gedik denotes the importance cultural aspects of all writing in the following passage: (76)

“The transfer of the main cultural elements of the source language to the target culture through translation allows situations which sometimes arouse curiosity, sometimes prove the universality of emotions, and sometimes stimulate creativity in the target culture. In this perspective, we can observe that different languages and sometimes cultural elements interact with each other in the translation process.”

The transcription of the Bible by a certain number of translators (such as Meschonnic (77) for example) as well as the criticisms referring to it reflect the pervasiveness of this problematic. In the current context where communication between different countries continues to increase, the cultural dimension of exchanges takes on its full meaning. Expression very fashionable since the resurgence of globalization, intercultural communication merits special attention when studying translation. (78)

Cömert very clearly recalls the incontestable multidimensional value of the cultural dimension of translation in the following remarks: (79)

“We cannot reduce translation to a simple transfer of information from a language to another. Translation is, without a doubt, an activity that takes place between languages. But it is also oriented towards the past and ancient culture. While, on the one hand, it brings us diachronically the traces of the past, all the values that Man has highlighted throughout history, on the other hand, it ensures exchanges between national cultures at the synchronic level. Thus, it facilitates both the composition of a contemporary culture and solidarity and the influence of new values produced between them.”

Certainly, the place of culture in the question of translation seems obvious; but the question that arises here initially is to know on what level(s) the culture influences the act of translation. Research shows two areas of work which appear at first sight to be complementary. On the one hand, a reflection on the translation of cultural elements of the source text (terms, expressions, styles, images, values, etc.), implied, unsaid and therefore implicit concerns researchers in matter. This research, focused on the translation practice, supports, on the other hand, other research more oriented towards the phenomenon of cultural transfer which also focuses on the analysis of the impact of this type of transfer as highlighted by Wiedner in the following passage: (80)

The process of cultural transfer requires the analysis of two different aspects: first analysis of the role that the translated work plays in the original culture and its ideological system, even socio-political, then its role in the host culture and the consequences of the act of transfer for the cultural actor – to be specified of the translation – act which aims strongly the content of the translated work and through this defines the position of the actor in the cultural field.”

The cultural dimension is a major focus of textual transfers, and is of growing concern to translators, who speak of the need to integrate “the extra-linguistic or para- perspective“. The cultural factor is essential, as the transfer of values and habits can determine the success or failure of a translation; this transfer is subject to relative contextual and intra-textual constraints relating to the source language and culture, and those of the target language and culture. Situated at the edge of language and culture and seen as both interlinguistic and intercultural mediation, translation transmits a large part of the culture of the Other, bringing peoples together. In this context, it is necessary to pay particular attention to the socio-cultural elements of texts, and one of the main translations of culture remains the transposition of the cultural implicit. (81)

Reflections on cultural translation

Cultural translation introduces us to the seriousness of artistic work requiring the translator to have a fine philological sensitivity and a vast erudition, with historical accuracy and documentary fidelity. The work presents itself as a self-sufficient linguistic unit with expressive cultural stakes. The translation must represent the source culture in a balanced and eloquent transfer to the target culture. The original usually presents content that symbol(s) of a given culture, the unique profile of an intangible heritage to be perceived and better understood in a particular context. (82)

In this sense, linguistic culturology, which fulfills the preliminary translating operation in this case, identifies the cultural specificities of language (idioms, etc.), balancing linguistic and metalinguistic nuances in relation to the cultural parameters in question. In addition to this linguistic and culturological input, cultural translation requires a multifaceted, interdisciplinary operation: comparative and contrastive studies in (history of) literature, language science, philosophy of language, history, culturology, linguistic culturology, culturological semantics, philosophy, anthropology, anthropocentric linguistics, sociology, geo-linguistics, intercultural communication, psychoanalysis, etc. (83)

Maintaining linguistic diversity is one of the major issues facing contemporary society. And yet, contrary to the clichés that make translation out to be expensive, slow or even superfluous, there are many reasons to believe that translation represents, for the future, a formidable asset when it comes to preserving the treasure trove of human culture. Far from being a triviality, translation is both omnipresent and indispensable, but it is often “invisible”. The aim is to reaffirm this unprecedented human faculty, and to rehabilitate its first-rate intercultural character in a highly digitized and globalized world. (84)

On the relevance of cultural translation, M. Rosario Martín Ruano argues: (85)

“Reflection on translation has always been considerably interested in the complexities of, and implications deriving from, the intercultural transfer of interculturally sensitive issues. Cultural translation has been widely used, particularly since the 1990s, as a catchword in research in translation studies arguing for culturally sensitive translation strategies committed to the preservation of difference in translation practice. Regarding cultural difference, it has also often been described as a core competence to be developed by practitioners even in seemingly objective realms such as scientific and technical translation. Michael Cronin perceives that cultural translation needs to discover the multidimensionality of difference, the complex and intersectional nature of every identity. Translation in journalism and, in general, in the media may also strive towards enhancing a more subtle understanding of different worldviews and identities. Translation often participates in reinforcing biased images of the other, and in ideological and cultural stereotyping.”

Translation and inter-faith dialogue 

Translation is essential for communication and understanding between different peoples, cultures, religions and beliefs.

The art of translation dates back thousands of years and translators, respected members of the societies of the time, transmitted unknown ideas from other cultures and other geographies, thereby accelerating the spread of knowledge and understanding. religious beliefs and shaping the linguistic evolution of the language itself. (86)

Although it is difficult to date the earliest translations, historical evidence suggests that the translation of cuneiform writing on clay tablets from Sumerian to Eblaite around 4,500 years ago was one of the earliest examples of this art.

On the issue of translation of religious text, Anne O’Connor writes: (87)

“The study of religious translation has broadened greatly in recent years from its strong textual tradition and a sustained focus on equivalence and translatability (DeJonge and Tietz 2015; Long 2005; Nida and Taber 1969), to wider conceptualisations of the interaction between translation and religion in conceptual terms, not least in relation to performativity, power structures and commensurability (Blumczynski and Gillespie 2016; Israel 20112019). This article suggests that attention to the materiality of religious translation is now an important step that needs to be taken in order to unlock aspects of religious translations that are not always revealed by traditional approaches. Since Karin Littau’s publications underlining the significance of materiality in translation, there has been a renewed focus on the material channels of translation and the role of technologies, forms, media and networks in the creation of meaning (Coldiron 20152016; Cronin 2013; Littau 20112016; Mitchell 2010), thus raising awareness of the need to address these issues in relation to translation.’’

Religious texts have played an essential role in the dissemination of culture and knowledge, making their translation an area of primary interest. It was translation that allowed the spread of Buddhism throughout Asia and the spread of Christianity throughout the world.

In the United Kingdom, during the fifth and sixth centuries, monks and scholars began to translate parts of the Bible from Latin into Old English. In Portugal, priests and scholars have also made similar efforts to translate parts of the Bible into Portuguese to expand access to sacred texts. Saint Jerome, (88) a 4th-century Catholic priest and patron saint of translators, introduced the idea that a translation should capture “meaning by meaning” rather than a literal word-for-word translation, an approach that is still followed today.

The first complete translation of the Bible into Portuguese was made by João Ferreira de Almeida, a Protestant missionary born in Portugal. This work, known as “Almeida’s Bible”, was first published in 1681. Although there had been partial translations before, it was Almeida’s work that made the Bible complete available in Portuguese for the first time, allowing wider access to the Bible for Portuguese speakers, and playing an important role in the standardization of the language and the formation of the modern Portuguese language.

Translation, however, was not limited to the Bible and played a decisive role in the definition of religions and cultures. Religious concepts and beliefs are disseminated and understood throughout the world through translation, whether it is the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, Buddhist sutras or many other sacred texts, translated into different languages, which allows people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds to understand and assimilate these traditions and cultures. (89)

Dialogue, in fact, begins with the encounter between two human beings, through exchange through a common language or cultural translation. Access to the language of the Other, which is essential, then becomes an opportunity for dialogue between cultures and creeds and enrichment through knowledge of the Other and his cultural specificity. (90)

The permeability of cultures, made possible by access to language, is the driving force of human, and the guarantor of openness, tolerance and respect for cultural and religious identity. Indeed, culture and religion, intimately intertwined, form the basis of human identity.

In fact, all the great religious texts advocate the same universal values of harmony and openness, in a spirit of necessary coexistence. This fertile interaction between civilizations weaves fundamental links for mutual respect, dialogue and peace. By accompanying this interaction through translation of the sacred texts widely disseminates these values. Also, translation in conjunction with the media contribute to the emergence of a culture of coexistence, and to a world of peace, respectful of differences. This culture of coexistence made available by cultural translation is the surest bulwark against the emergence of hatred and violence. (91)

On the nature of religious translations, Hephzibah Israel writes: (92)

“It would not be an overstatement to observe that religions translate ubiquitously. But translations undertaken in religious contexts do not occur merely at the linguistic, and perhaps the more explicit, level. What is also involved, in principle, is translation on a conceptual plane that influences the way religions relate to other phenomena (that may or may not be recognized as ‘religious’) structurally. These two planes, the linguistic and conceptual, labour together, act on each other in complex ways to perform the multiple forms of translation that can be identified in religious contexts. Different aspects of a religion may be promoted and translated differently and to different degrees, but religions would not survive without the ability to translate, even if understood in the most primary sense of ‘translating’ divinity, through any form or medium, for a human audience.”

And goes on to say:

“Scriptural translation is only one aspect of translation that manifests itself in the travel of religions. In practice, a much broader range of what is understood as ‘sacred’ literature by each religious tradition is translated for ritual practices, or devotional purposes, including forms of poetry, music and recitation that are co-constructed by religious communities and function within broader religious and social cultures. A ‘sacred text’ broadly defined is any text, object or sound perceived as sacred or holy or used for any purpose considered sacred by a faith community. Given the myriad ways in which ideas and experiences of the sacred manifest themselves (either within organized religions or at the margins of, including beyond the control of institutionalized religions), it is pertinent to ask what is translation in the religious context and to what extent do conceptualizations as well as practices of translation influence the way religions travel?”

The translation of religious fundamental texts

The translation of the sacred text raises multiple and formidable questions relating to the relationships of communities and peoples to their languages and to the founding texts of their identities, to the sacred, to the world with its beings and its objects. (93)

The sacred text constitutes a “literary” monument which crystallizes the inherited identity of a community. The question of its translation differs depending on religions and beliefs. If we consider the three Abrahamic monotheisms, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, we note at first glance a radical difference between these three branches of the Abrahamic tradition in the place given to the translation of their sacred text. (94)

Thus, the second Epistle to the Corinthians underlines the fact that revelation has an ineffable character and cannot be expressed in human language. The translation would be blasphemy. Steiner indicates that Judaism contains an extreme taboo, the Megillat Taanith of the first century, reports that the world went dark for three days when the Law was translated into Greek. (95) Thus, translation is considered as a transgression of the prohibition of communication embodied by the curse of Babel represented by the diversity of languages.

Furthermore, the refusal of Jewish religious authorities to participate in the Ecumenical Translation of the Bible confirms the sustainability of this radical position of Judaism. (96)

If we consider Christianity, we see that translation and interpretation were constitutive of the New Testament (NT). Indeed, if Christ spoke Aramaic, the NT was written in Greek from the first century, but the predominance of Latin in Gaul and Africa created the need for Latin translations of the Bible, a task to which Saint Jerome would tackle (Eusebius Hieronymus born in 347). The Bible was later translated into European “vernacular” languages; translations, some of which founded languages and national identities (for example, German with Martin Luther). The religious aspect supports this central place occupied by translation and interpretation in the Christian tradition.

The problem of religious translation raises questions about the notion of “religion of the Books”, a notion which is not accepted without reservation by the various monotheisms.

The three monotheisms are closely linked to the “holy books”. They constitute the ultimate evolution of religions, attesting to the transition from oral cultures to “written culture”. The close connection between ‘religion’ and ‘book’ indicates a new form of religious rationality which aims to break with natural religions and different types of polytheism and paganism. 

Despite the detailed differences between revelation (Islam) and inspiration (Christianity), the primacy of the Book has made an ‘epistemological’ break with the forms of expression of natural religions. But these religions have not disappeared; they keep barely visible traces in the monotheistic religions. In this sense, one ought to follow a suggestion from Jan Assmann, by distinguishing between (antique) religion and monotheistic counter-religion (Gegenreligion). (97) The effort of hermeneutics focuses on retranslating the jargon of the new religions into the primitive mythological language of natural religions. Religious exegesis (like the work of Ricoeur and LaCocque “Thinking the Bible”) (98) will have the mission of translating biblical language into the mythological language of ancient Egypt, for example.

Religious hermeneutics has also developed during modern times in the wake of the problem of translation. The problem of the unity of the Holy Book, which should “accommodate” (accomodatio) the Old Testament to the New Testament in the perspective of a single and unique divine word: the Bible), has led theologians to propose different types of meaning: typological, tropological, mystical meaning, in addition to the lexical meaning. The translation of the holy book should take into consideration the different dogmatics which prescribe doctrinal guidelines for the exercise of translation. The school quarrels (around the demythologization of Bultmann) show the relevance of the problem of intra- and intercultural translation. (99)

Given the dogma of the precedence of the Arabic language, the translation of the Koran in the land of Islam is generally considered as “bid’a“, a term which encompasses the meaning of what is at the same time “new, blasphemous and counter-religious“. The translation of the Koran is from this perspective an attempt inevitably doomed to failure, and when it is sometimes tolerated, it is as a “translation of the meanings of the Koran and not of the inimitable Koran”. The refusal to “sacralize” the translation of the sacred text comes from a theological conception of language. (100)

Previously, the theological problem of translation could be posed in these exclusive terms. The Arabic language was the predominant language of culture and communication. However, the problem of translation which is now a necessary and vital need for the propagation of Islam is quite a challenge to the Muslim men of religion: ‘ulema.  (101)

In this regard, W. S. Peachy writes: (102)

“The translation of a literary work from its original language to another requires not only great skill in both languages, but great knowledge of their literatures and cultures as well. A scripture, particularly the Qur’an, presents another, higher level of difficulty. Muslims hold that the Qur’an in any other language than the original Arabic is not the Qur’an. Some scholars oppose Qur’anic translation per se. Others believe it is an integral part of the Prophet Muhammad’s command to convey the Qur’anic message. Although Muslim translators understand their translations are not the Qur’an, this is why they must strive to transmit the message of the Qur’an to the best of their skills through their translations. Hundreds of editions have appeared in various languages, with the majority in English. By whom can the Qur’an be translated? A translator assumes he is the most qualified, skillful and dedicated in communicating with his target audience. They are the all-important ones for whom he must tailor his work. Once he has settled why, by whom and for whom, he can proceed to how. What style can he best use to reach his audience with the Qur’anic Message? What range of diction and level of discourse will he employ to bring his efforts into the cultural and social context of his readers? Can Islamic and Arabic terminology be conveyed without lengthy footnotes and commentary? The translator is responsible for making many difficult and crucial decisions which will affect the accuracy, clarity and acceptability of his work.’’

Arabic is becoming a minority language in several Muslim countries (Persia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Türkiye) and non-Muslim (Europe, Americas, Africa), not to mention Arabized Muslim countries with a strong non-Arab ethnic majority such as those in the Maghreb. Hence the urgent need for translation into languages and cultures foreign to the Arabic language.

In summary, it is appropriate to examine the relationship between the sacred text and translation (103) and interpretation from two main perspectives:

1-The perspective of verticality, that is to say that of “religio”, in the sense of connection, when the text-holy book establishes an alliance (religio) between Men and God. The divine Word incarnated in human language is the attestation of this transcendental alliance.

2-The perspective of horizontality, that is to say that of “religere”, in the sense of re-reading and inter-community inter-textuality: any new religious vocation is based on heritage. And since the mythological and polytheistic heritage constituted the predominant cultural heritage, it guided the exegetical aims of research in the religious sciences.

Other aspects to take into consideration are:

  • First intertextual relationship between Old Testament (AT) and New Testament (NT), and between AT&NT and Koran, where one could speak of cultural and dogmatic re-enunciation;
  • Then, intertextual relationship between AT and the entire Assyro-Babylonian mythology with its founding stories, notably those relating to the birth of the world and the creation of man found in the Poem of Atrahasis, (104) in the Poem of creation, (105) in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and in addition to another Babylonian poem entitled “I will praise the Lord of wisdom” which has similarities with the biblical Job; and
  • Finally, intertextual relationship between the different religious, biblical and Koranic exegetical traditions, and their preponderant role in the institutionalization and consecration of canonical interpretations (Midrash, Targum, Exegesis, Tafsîr), without forgetting the contributions of the three mystics (Jewish, Christian and Muslim).

Conclusion: Translating culture to bridge differences between cultures

When one writes a book in one’s mother tongue, one uses cultural words without thinking about it. All readers, or at least most readers, will understand words in question since they share the same culture. But when a book is translated into another language, new readers do not have the same understanding of these words. The translator must help new readers understand cultural words using different strategies.

Cultural intelligence is a vital skill in today’s global landscape. It goes beyond recognizing cultural differences and involves the ability to successfully adapt to diverse environments, making it essential for overcoming cultural complexities during international expansion.

To cultivate cultural intelligence, individuals and organizations must first become aware of and appreciate cultural variations. This understanding allows for respectful and authentic intercultural interactions, promoting openness to learning different customs and traditions.

Avoiding ethnocentrism, that is, the belief in the superiority of one’s own culture, is essential to fostering high cultural intelligence. This mindset can hinder effective communication and collaboration across cultures. By seeing diversity as a strength and being open-minded, institutions can build trust and connection with people from diverse backgrounds.

Promoting cross-cultural collaboration and diversity has significant benefits for effectively managing cultural differences in cross-cultural interactions.

Cultural etiquette varies greatly from region to region, and it is essential to be attentive to and respect local customs and cultural differences. Small gestures, greetings and the correct manner of addressing others can have important cultural significance and should not be overlooked. For example, in some cultures it is customary to remove one’s shoes before entering a home or office as a sign of cleanliness and respect, while in others it may be considered surprising. By paying attention to these nuances, one can navigate social situations with grace and sensitivity, fostering positive relationships with local people.

Additionally, understanding and following dress codes and dining etiquette helps avoid potential misunderstandings and helps build a favorable reputation. Dressing appropriately for various occasions shows that one is aware of local norms and wants to fit into the cultural fabric. Likewise, respecting restaurant etiquette, such as the correct use of utensils or respecting dietary restrictions, demonstrates consideration and respect for the values of the host culture. By integrating cultural etiquette one can pave the way for successful cross-cultural communication. (106)

All translations require knowledge of indigenous culture. (107) For what? There is often more meaning than what is said.

A word to the wise – when translating a language, the task is not simply to decode individual words or even individual sentences. You need to be steeped in the culture to understand how to approach the transfer of meaning from one language to another.

One should look at this through the lens of a French to English translation and how the French are expected to respond with a “no” to many requests. What is the resolution behind this “no”? Understanding this gives context to a conversation. In a post #metoo world in America, many are accustomed to being absolutists. No means no.

The notion of cultural translation could be a sign of a move towards greater interdisciplinarity, with translation seen in the context of exchanges between cultures that are distant in time and space and also in thought and belief. (108)

You can follow Professor Mohamed Chtatou on Twitter/X :@ Ayurinu


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  46.  Tegelberg, E. (2007). Culturalité, temporalité, spatialité et autre aspectes de la traduction littéraire : l’exemple de Jonas Gardell. In O. Eriksson (Ed). Översättning och kultur, föredrag från ett symposium vid Växjö universitet (pp. 148-191, p. 156). Växjö : Växjö University Press.
  47.  Ballard, M. (2001). Le nom propre en traduction (p. 109). Paris: Ophrys.
  48.  Svane, B. (2002). Hur översätter man verkligheten? (p. 5). Uppsala : Romanska institutionen, Uppsala universitet.
  49.  Ingo, R. (2007). Kulturen – en mångfasetterad situationell faktor vid översättning. In O. Eriksson (Ed). Översättning och kultur (pp. 98-117, p. 99). Växjö: Växjö University Press.
  50.  Vinay, J-P, & Darbelnet, J. (1958). Stylistique comparée du français et de l’anglais : méthode de traduction (p. 47). Paris : Didier.
  51.  Svane, B. (1998). Comment traduire la réalité ? Etude de la traduction des expressions référentielles. In O.  Eriksson (Ed). Språk- och kulturkontraster, om översättning till och från franska (pp. 93-118.
  52.  Vinay, J-P, & Darbelnet, J. (1958). Op. cit., p. 98.
  53.  Tegelberg, E. (2004). Kvällstidning > journal à sensation ? Le problème de la traduction en français des mots culturels suédois. Moderna språk, 2, 184-200.
  54.  Ibid., p. 187.
  55.  Ballard, M. (2001). Op. cit. p. 117.
  56.  Ibid., p. 109.
  57.  Svane, B. (2002). Op. cit., p. 5.
  58.  Ingo, R. (2007). Op. cit. 
  59.  Kuran, T., & Sandholm, W. H. (2008). Cultural Integration and Its Discontents. The Review of Economic Studies, 75(1), 201–228. Retrieved from 
  60.  Louchet, Chantal. (2021). La place de la traduction dans l’accueil et l’intégration des migrants en France. Synergies Portugal, (9), 171-188. Retrieved from 
  61.  Kuran, T., & Sandholm, W. H. (2008). Op. cit.
  62.  Algan, Y., Bisin, A., Manning, A., & Verdier, T. (2012). Cultural integration of immigrants in Europe (p. 359). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  63.  Louchet, Chantal. (2021). Op. cit., p. 175.
  64.  Sechrest, L., Fay, T. L., & Zaidi, S. M. H. (1972). Problems of Translation in Cross-Cultural Research. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology3(1), 41-56.
  65.  Chtatou, Mohamed. (2021). The Notion of Equivalence in Translation. Eurasia Review. Retrieved from
  66.  Dobrzyńska, Teresa. (1995). Translating metaphor: Problems of meaning. Journal of Pragmatics, 24(6), 595-604, 598-599.
  67.  Ibid., pp. 598-599.
  68.  Hersent, J. (2007). Traduire : rencontre ou affrontement entre cultures ? Hermès, La Revue, 49, 157-167.
  69.  Ergasheva, N. E. Qizi.  (2023). Translation and its Cross-Cultural Relevance. Educational Research in Universal Sciences2(1), 140-143.
  70.  Hersent, J. (2007). Op. cit.
  71.  Chtatou, Mohamed. (2021). Exploring The Concept of Fidelity in Translation. Eurasia Review. Retrieved from
  72.  Liddicoat, A. J. (2016). Translation as intercultural mediation: setting the scene. Perspectives24(3), 347-353.
  73.  Gutt, E. A. (2014). Translation and relevance: Cognition and context. London: Routledge.
  74.  Pageaux, Daniel-Henri. (2007). Littérature et cultures en dialogue (p.231). Paris ! l’Harmattan.
  75.  Reiss, K. (1995). Problématiques de la traduction (pp. 43-48). Bibliothèque de traductologie. Paris : Editions Economica. 
  76.  Gedik, Ü. (2020). Kültürel unsurların çevirisinde eşdeğerlik sorunu: Farsça Ta’âruf cümleleri. In E. Uluşahin (Ed.). Çeviriye kültürel bakış (pp.273-300, p. 273). Istanbul: Nobel Akademik Yayıncılık.
  77.  Meschonnic, H. (2004). Un coup de Bible dans la philosophie. Paris : Bayard.
  78.  The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) was composed in Hebrew from different periods with the exception of certain passages from the books of Daniel, Ezra, and Jeremiah which are in Aramaic. In the 3rd century BC, the versions of the books which would be collected to form the Bible were translated into Greek in Alexandria; their whole is called the Septuagint. It is from these books translated into Greek that the Christian Old Testament (OT) will be formed. From the 1st century, Aramaic translations of Hebrew books appeared, biblical Hebrew having become a dead language and Aramaic having become the common language in Palestine. The different parts of the New Testament (NT) were written in Koine Greek, another common, more international language of the time. Latin translations of the Christian Bible were produced in a process that spanned the 2nd to 4th centuries. They will be at the origin of the Vulgate.
  79.  Cömert, B. (1978). Kuramsal açıdan çeviri sorunu (p. 26). Ankara : TDK Çeviri Özel Sayısı.
  80.  Wiedner, S. S. (2010). Melchiorre Cesarotti Il fanatismo osia Maometto profeta : Tragedia di Voltaire (1742) – La traduction italienne de la tragédie voltairienne Le Fanatisme ou Mahomet le prophète (1741). S. Stockhorst (Ed.). Cultural Transfer Through Translation: The Circulation of Enlightened Thought in Europe by Means of Translation (pp.83-102, p. 84). Amsterdam, New York : Rodopi B.V. Retrieved from 
  81.  Clouet, R. (2008). Intercultural language learning: cultural mediation within the curriculum of Translation and Interpreting studies. Ibérica: Revista de la Asociación Europea de Lenguas para Fines Específicos (AELFE), 16, 147-168.
  82.  D’hulst, L. (2008). Cultural translation. Beyond Descriptive Translation Studies. Investigations on homage to Gideon Toury (pp. 221-232). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: Benjamins.
  83.  Stewart, C. (1999). Syncretism and its synonyms: Reflections on cultural mixture. Diacritics29(3), 40-62.
  84.  Pratt, M. L., Wagner, B., Carbonell i Cortés, O., Chesterman, A., & Tymoczko, M. (2010). Translation studies forum: Cultural translation. Translation Studies3(1), 94-110.
  85.  Ruano, M. R. M. (2018). Issues in cultural translation: Sensitivity, politeness, taboo, censorship. In The Routledge handbook of translation and culture (pp. 258-278). London: Routledge.
  86.  Anne O’Connor. (2021). Translation and religion: Issues of materiality. Translation Studies, 14(3), 332-349. DOI: 10.1080/14781700.2021.1893805
  87. Ibid
  88.  Jerome of Stridon or Saint Jerome, born around 347 in Stridon, on the border between Pannonia and Dalmatia (in current Slovenia or Croatia), and died September 30, 420 in Bethlehem, is a monk, translator of the Bible, and the one of the four Fathers of the Latin Church and Doctor of the Church with Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo and Gregory I.
  89.  Chtatou, Mohamed. (2021). The Translation of the Sacred. Eurasia Review.
  90.  Brink-Danan, M. (2015). Faith in Conversation: Translation, Translanguaging, and the British God Debate. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 25(2), 173-194. Retrieved from 
  91.  Hephzibah Israel (2019) Translation and religion: crafting regimes of identity, Religion, 49:3, 323-342, DOI: 10.1080/0048721X.2019.1635332
  92. Ibid
  93.  Long, Lynne. (2005). Translation and Religion: Holy Untranslatable? Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
  94.  Karamustafa, Ahmet T. (2017). Islamic Din as an Alternative to Western Models of ‘Religion’. In R. Kind (Ed.). Religion, Theory, Critique: Classic and Contemporary Approaches and Methodologies (pp. 163–171). New York: Columbia University Press.
  95.  Ballard, Michel. (2007). Le commentaire de traduction anglaise (p. 38). Paris : Armand Collin. This manual offers a new approach to translation commentary. Firstly, it provides the basic methodological elements necessary for the ordered description of texts. Then it offers the possibility of applying them progressively, from simple and self-correcting comments to more complex comparative comments.
  96.  Dejonge, Michael, & Christiane Tietz (Eds.). (2015). Translating Religion: What Is Lost and Gained? Routledge Studies in Religion. New York: Taylor and Francis.
  97.  Assmann, Jan. (2005). Religion and Cultural Memory, trans. Rodney Livingstone. Redwood City, California: Stanford University Press.
  98.  LaCocque, A., & Ricoeur, P. (Eds.). (2003). Thinking Biblically: Exegetical and Hermeneutical Studies, translated by D. Pellauer. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
  99.  Kalalo, Stanley, Antoni Bastian, & David Ming. (2021). Bultmann’s Thoughts: Demythologization and Its Impact on the Contemporary Christianity Today. European Journal of Theology and Philosophy, 1 (6), 1-4. Retrieved from’s%20description%20of%20Demythologization%2C%20can,hear%20the%20word%20of%20God
  100.  Fatani, Afnan. (2006). Translation and the Qurʻan. In O. Leaman (Ed.). The Qurʻan: an encyclopaedia (pp. 657–669). London: Routledge.
  101.  Peachy, W. S. (2013). English Translations of The Qur’an and The Roles of Why, by Whom, for Whom and How. Al-Bayan, 11(2), 31-54. Retrieved from 
  102. Ibid
  103.  Elewa, Abdelhamid. (2016). Translating the Sacred Text: A Polysystem Approach. Journal of Translation, 12(1), 13-27.
  104.  Laessoe, Q. (1956). The Atrahasis Epic: A Babylonian History of Mankind. Bibliotheca Orientalis 13, 90-102.
  105.  Garzuly, Laszlo. (2023). Enuma Elish: Discover the Babylonian Poem of Creation. The Collector. Retrieved from 
  106.  Jeon, M.-Y. & Brisset, A. (2006). La notion de culture dans les manuels de traduction : domaines allemand, anglais, coréen et français. Meta51(2), 389-409. 
  107.  Wright, A., Van Every R., & Burnside H., et al (2023). The Unexpected Benefits of a Decolonized Knowledge Translation Initiative for Indigenous Mother Participants. Qualitative Health Research, 33(7), 638-646. doi:10.1177/10497323231167308
  108.  Coperías Aguilar, M. J., & Martínez Sierra, J. J. (2021). Translating cultures, cultures in translation. Language and Intercultural Communication21(1), 1-5.

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou is a Professor of education science at the university in Rabat. He is currently a political analyst with Moroccan, Gulf, French, Italian and British media on politics and culture in the Middle East, Islam and Islamism as well as terrorism. He is, also, a specialist on political Islam in the MENA region with interest in the roots of terrorism and religious extremism.

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